Often when a customer calls for piano tuning it actually a broken part that has prompted the call.
Most piano owners are completely unaware that there is no government certification of piano tuners/technicians. Because other trades such as electricians, mechanics etc. are licensed, piano owners assume that any piano technician will be trained and qualified to be working on their piano. In fact, anyone can call themselves a piano tuner or piano technician, even if they have no training at all. As a result, piano owners need to exercise caution when it comes to repairs to their pianos. It is always a good idea to get a second opinion when the tuner suggests an expensive repair that will fix a problem that the owner was not aware existed.
Common Minor Repairs
Sticking Keys – Sticking keys are most common in new pianos. Changes in humidity that have happened during shipping can cause keys to stick. Sticking keys can also show up in older pianos when the wood and felt swell with very high humidity in the middle of the summer or when the wooden keys shrink in low humidity conditions during the peak of the heating season. This problem is easy to remedy and often there is no additional charge to ease a few sticking keys when the technician is already there to tune the piano.
Buzzes, Rattles & Squeaks
Squeaking action parts aren’t usually expensive to remedy. Often a few drops of center pin lubricant will fix the problem. A few rattling notes in the action are often a quick repair but if the action is rattling throughout it may be an indication that the action is need of an overhaul. Buzzing can be caused by loose cabinet parts but may also mean that the soundboard is in need of repair.
Broken Action Parts
For sure this will cost extra on top of tuning if the technician has parts to replace. It is quite reasonable to ask for an estimate before proceeding with the repair. An experienced technician should be able to estimate the time involved before starting the repairs.
Treble strings aren’t expensive. I carry a full range of piano wire gauges with me on all service calls. Bass strings however are expensive. They have to be custom made for your particular piano. This involves taken the measurements from the old broken string and having a new string made from them. It also requires coming back for a second appointment with the new string to install it and tune it.
Missing Keytops - Key Recovering
Often older pianos have missing or chipped keytops. The original keytops may have been ivory or plastic. If there are just a few missing ivories they can usually be replaced with ivories that have been salvaged from other old pianos. New ivory is not available as there is a world wide ban on trade in ivory, for good reason. Ivories discolour with age so a perfect colour match is often hard to achieve with older ivories. Simulated ivory keytops made of plastic are often a better colour match than salvaged ivories.
Often the original keyboard in an older piano may be so compromised that it is a better option to replace all the remaining keytops with new plastic keytops. This is the same material that is used in all new pianos and the key recovering can make the keyboard look like new. If you are interesed in keyboard restoration you can get in touch with me using the contact information on this website.
Serving - Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Welland, Port Colborne, Jordan, Vineland, Beamsville, Grimsby, Dunnville, Stoney Creek, Hamilton, Ancaster & Dundas